That’s for the World Cup – my painting giveaway why I did it, how I did it and would I do it again….
Giveaways are a big part of marketing. As an artist we are constantly under pressure to donate artwork, prints etc, offer discounts, free shipping and so on. It’s something that I have always avoided for two main reasons. Firstly I simply can’t afford it, I don’t earn enough from my artwork at this time to support myself and secondly I always think it devalues the artwork that my other collectors have paid full price for.
However, I have to find out ways of getting my artwork to my audience. Cricket audiences are really tricky to reach because traditional art exhibitions don’t generally accept sports art for some reason. I have given up submitting my cricket art to open exhibtions because it normally gets rejected. Whereas my wildlife art is much more successful – same artist – same style. The only two ways I can reach them is either via search engines, so if you search on google for cricket art, cricket pictures, cricket drawing, painting etc you will eventually either find my website or one of the other sites that has my artwork such as Saatchi and Etsy. Or, social media. I don’t have a great reach on social media, my following on Instagram and Twitter (I don’t do facebook anymore) is very small, so small in fact that my own tweets often don’t show on my own newsfeed. So I am reliant on other people with a larger reach than me liking or retweeting my posts. I have asked directly in the past, and it does work. The stats shoot up if a major cricket pundit or journalist RTs my work but I don’t like to ask, it’s a bit rude and smacks of desperation to me.
So, what do I do? Well in all the excitement of the World Cup final brewing, like most cricket fans I was swept along on a wave of emotion and the only way I deal with that is to paint or draw. Set for a day in front of the TV and radio I decided to paint an England cricketer for the day, post updates on Twitter and see what happens. Then the idea grew, I would offer the painting for free in a compeition, to take part followers would need to like any post updates and RT it. I would keep a record of all those that RT’d it and then use a random number generator to pick a winner. Obviously the more people RT it then the bigger the reach and the smaller their chances of winning – but unless you RT it then you can’t be in the competition. So clear in my mind what I was going to do I set up my easel and posted my first update.
I decided to paint on oil paper again. This is something I’m enjoying currently, I use Arches oil paper. Basically it is paper that is prepared for you to use oil paint on. They do not need priming so it is ready to use. I did a little research into how other artists use oil paper and the common consensus is for artists to them as sketches and call them an oil sketch but it is a piece of art in its own right. The great thing is that you can create a loose sketchy looking painting with the wonderful pigments and toughness of oil paint leaving the paper white. An area that watercolour normally dominates. So, after deciding to paint Ben Stokes (my husbands choice I was going to paint Eoin Morgan) I made up my base mix of Raw Umber, Raw Umber & White, Raw Umber & French Ultramarine) and using a flat brush marked out loosely the main shadow areas. You can see how I’ve marked out dark, medium and light tones. At this point I’m really not bothered about getting it accurate, I’ve done so many figure drawings that I do approximate fairly well. But lines laid down are the most expressive and I always leave them in.
I begin to bring colour in only when I’m sure that my 3 tones are correct, mid, light and dark. It’s a real holding back process, I think we all want to get cracking with colour as soon as, but years of drawing have taught me that proportion and tones are the real basis for figure drawing, get those right and then you’re free to be as bright, lively and expressive as you want. You can see that as I apply colour I’m really not worried about the initial marks underneath. The stumps for example have been moved by me but it looks ok, why does it look ok? Well I guess it’s because the whole painting is full of expressive marks (it’s not neat) and when we view it somehow that makes it more exciting in our mind, not messy and more than anything my proportions are correct, we can stand messy but we can’t stand incorrect porportions on a human figure drawing.
Follows is a little gallery of the progress of the painting….
The face was an obvious challenge, you can see how I have had to paint it and re-paint over and over again. It’s one of the reasons that I use oil paint as I rarely get things right from the onset so I need to be able to manipulate and move the paint around.
I like to paint as I draw with wide brush strokes, years of drawing with pastel and charcoal blocks have left me with this habit. I have tried painting differently but have settled on this as being my most comfortable.
All in all it took about a week to finish the painting to my satisfaction. I felt under a self imposed pressure because I had aimed to paint it all on World Cup Final day but in the end the longer time ensured that it reached more people. By the time I had finished and put up my final update there were nearly 900 people in the competition.
I used a random number selector on google and the winning number was selected. I contacted them privately to firstly ensure that they wanted it. He did and it has gone to a good cricket home. Secondly I advised him not to release his name because I had been contacted a few times from people asking for it to be donated to their charities. Worthy causes but this was a competition and people were expecting a winner.
There are prints available of the finished painting. It has turned out really well, with prints looking as good as the original painting. Prints are available here or click on the finished painting below to go to my website..